Non-governmental organization Civil Society Movement on Social Inclusion (CSM-SI) has admonished the Ghana Police Service to, as a matter of urgency, launch a civic engagement programme to win back public trust.
The Service has recently come under fire over bad events involving some of its officers.
For instance, on Friday, July 20, a video went viral capturing an officer mercilessly buffeting a woman with a baby, her grandson, at the Shiashie branch of Midland Savings and Loans.
Earlier, youth of Asawase in the Ashanti Region went on rampage as a result of the shooting of seven of their fold said to be armed robbers.
A statement issued by CSM-SI on Monday suggested a review of the curriculum of training for police recruits especially on human rights of citizens.
“The [Ghana Police Service] must as a matter of priority launch a civic engagement program to win back public trust in its work and [CSM-SI] is readily available to provide capacity support for such efforts,” the statement said.
Find the full statement below:
CSM-SI PUSH FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT POLICE COMMISSION AMONG OTHER URGENT REFORMS
The Civil Society Movement on Social Inclusion condemns the act of violent misconduct by a Police Officer against a woman at the Midland Savings and Loans Branch in Accra which reportedly occurred on Thursday 19th July 2018.
A video that surfaced online on Friday, 20th July 2018 showing an armed police officer named Frederick Amanor violently assaulting and dragging a female customer of the Shiashie branch of the Midland Savings and Loans company has come to our attention and we would like to condemn this detestable act of brute force against a woman.
For the victim Patience Safo, who with her grandchild had gone to the said company to demand a withdrawal of her savings to cater for her needs and to be physically abused in that manner is rather unprofessional, unfortunate and we consider this act as criminal and must be dealt with as such to ensure that justice is served, and the culprit brought to book.
Violence against women is recognized in international law as a violation of human rights. Again violence against women is a violation of the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as protected by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR Article 5 and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, ICCPR Article 7.
Recent reports of rising police officers’ infractions especially in relation to the violation of the human rights of Ghanaians is creating fear and panic among Citizens. The gunning down of seven people at Manso Nkwanta; the prospective National Service Personnel who were manhandled by security officers, beaten with belts and sticks; Journalist Latif Idris, Who was brutally beaten almost to death at the headquarters of the Ghana Police Service are but a few examples of police brutalities against the citizenry.
The Police Act (350) 1970 enjoins the police to maintain the safety of persons but they are rather perpetrating these abuses in our society. These concerns cannot be raised without mentioning the abuse meted out to the child during the scuffle at the banking hall. This we consider as a clear contravention of Article 19 of The Child Rights Convention (CRC), which states that children have the right to protection from hurt and mistreatment, physically and mentally.
Article 3 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person’’, and article 5 states “No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’’. Additionally, Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana recognizes Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms (Respect for Human Dignity). Article 15 (2) mentions that ‘’No person shall, whether or not he or (she) is arrested, restricted or detained, be subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
With the growing trend of abuse cases by personnel of the Ghana Police Service, we question whether the agency has received any capacity training on human right and child protection issues and whether they really have a clear understanding of these issues in accordance with local and international standards.
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation frowns on abuse, violence and torture. In the same vein, Articles 6 and 9 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (1966), protects the right to life and the right to liberty and security of person. It is of these instruments that the State (police) has the direct obligation to protect its citizens from violence as part of their functions and for this responsibility to be abused in such a manner by an officer of the Law calls for serious consequences.
The Civil Society Movement on Social Inclusion considers the conduct of the police officer as barbaric, despicable and we condemn it in no uncertain terms.
Accordingly, the Movement is in full support of all ongoing investigations of the matter and is urging the GPS to make them transparent as well as share outcomes with the public.
The Movement is also keenly monitoring all ongoing processes in this matter to ensure that justice is done, and in addition, wants the ff:
- As a complementary effort to the GPS’s actions, a full-scale independent investigation of the matter
- The bank’s involvement in the whole matter to be equally thoroughly interrogated and appropriately sanctioned where applicable
- Victim support including compensation for Madam Patience and her grandchild to be pursued and coordinated by the Social Welfare Department
- A medium to the long-term intervention of institutional reforms in the Ghana police service to include an establishment of an Independent Police Commission to independently and adequately handle complaints against the police
- A review of the curriculum for police trainees to include child protection orientation and make them more responsive to victim protection, gender empowerment and social inclusion needs.
- An immediate capacity retraining should be organized for all police personnel across the country on citizens’ human rights, appropriate use of force in the line of duty, code of conduct, among others
- The GPS must as a matter of priority launch a civic engagement program to win back public trust in its work and the Movement is readily available to provide capacity support for such efforts
The Movement on Social Inclusion believes these demands are within the reach of all state actors committed to the reign of rule of law in the country and most especially the police service to help it rescue its sinking image and restore public confidence. These must, therefore, be granted within a reasonable period. The movement is committed to engaging all available legal means to enforce them to end the culture of violence.
Meanwhile, the Movement is urging citizens to remain calm but resolute in providing the law enforcement agencies ample space and time to settle the matter within the ambit of the law in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
The Civil Society Movement on Social Inclusion is a broad coalition of civil society organizations and activists working to eliminate systemic barriers that reinforce the marginalization of socially excluded groups including women.